Tips for the Father as Parent
Today, the number of single fathers has increased dramatically. For one thing, the court system is now recognizing that fathers make just as good of parents as mothers do so and in some cases, better. Then, you have some children that prefer to live with the father for one reason or another. Another group of kids involves those without a mother due to death or simply that they are not wanted by the mother. Of course, single fathers are also the result of the increasing divorce rate in our country. Regardless of the reason, the father as parent is a wonderful situation but one with many challenges.
Most fathers are exceptional parents, loving and supportive but many will have little idea of what it takes to be a single father. Being the father as parent brings about a completely new set of issues that need to be understood and addressed. We want to encourage you to believe in yourself and your abilities as a single parent. With the right tools and resources, you will succeed.
The following are just a few of the many areas in which being father as parent will need to be addressed at one time or another.
One of the best things you as a single father can do is learn good communication skills. This means not just talking but also listening. By learning to listen to your child, you will have the opportunity to open up all kinds of channels, learning about his/her fears, goals, aspirations, challenges, and so on. The more you can talk with and listen to your child, the less difficult obstacles in child rearing will be.
You need understand who your child’s friends are, where your child is going, what concerns he or she has living in a single parent situation, what is going on at school, etc. By keeping the lines of communication open, you are setting the stage so when your child becomes an adult, he/she can come to you about anything openly, and freely. Additionally, good communication is teaching your child how to be a good, communicator as an adult, something he or she can carry on into his/her own family.
Typically, a father as a parent, one going it alone, works a full-time job. This means finding time to be involved with school functions, activities, and problems can be challenging. However, it is crucial that you stay involved with the school, as much as you can. Even if you cannot make every meeting, play, or concert, you need to do everything in your power to go as often as possible, showing support to your child.
Additionally, make sure you stay informed about the goings on at your child’s school. This means making the effort to talk to the child’s teacher or counselor to ensure there are no problems looming on the horizon. Often, staying informed will be the key to heading off trouble before it begins.
One of the hardest things for a parent to do is give their child space, even while young. Children need to learn the importance of independence, which will ultimately help them for the future. Every child needs privacy and space, time just hang out with friends, talk on the phone, or simply tuck away in the bedroom to read a book.
Just as being involved with your child regarding activities is important, space is also vital. As your child reaches around age 10, give him or her time after walking in the door from school to unwind. In other words, do not start bombarding your child with 100 questions about their day. Instead, let the child come in, get a snack, put his/her things away, and relax.
Often, fathers tend to be protective over the children, which is fine but as a single parent, you may find yourself being a little to protective. As your children begin to grow, reaching teenage years, you are going to have to trust the things you taught him or her will sink in and work. Therefore, work at being fair. If you have a daughter who is 16 and wanting to go on a date, she is not a “little girl” but a young teen. With this, you can set some rules and a curfew and then let her enjoy her evening.
Being the father as parent in a single family home will be met with challenges but these do not have to be overwhelming or bad. At first, it will take time to learn the ropes. Be patient, providing your child with lots of love and support and together, you will figure out a system that works best for you. You will need to provide a perfect balance of discipline and freedom, which takes a little bit of practice.